Stafford and Surrounds’ Health and Wellbeing Group is looking for a Community Connector to engage isolated older people and ‘connect’ them with services and support available to them.
2011’s Census recorded 7100 older people living alone in Stafford, and significant growth is expected in older people, equating to 5,600 additional residents aged 85 and over by 2024. Almost 24,000 people in the Borough currently have a limiting long-term illness (LLTI) such as high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes; this is also expected to increase given the ageing population and increase in unhealthier lifestyles.
Supporting people to maintain good health, mental wellbeing, and their independence as they get older is a priority for the Stafford and Surrounds’ Health and Wellbeing Group. Almost 1500 people are recorded with depression on GP registers (people aged 16 and over) with recent evidence suggesting that loneliness can be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
With a dependency ratio higher than the national average, the Borough’s Health and Social Care services are not equipped to cope with today’s demand and resources are not available to do more.
So the National Health Service, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authorities are asking the public to make better use of resources available to help themselves in their communities such as Pharmacies, Community and Voluntary Groups and advice and guidance on the internet or phone lines. They are asking people to take control of their own health and wellbeing and live in an active and healthy way so that the limited resources of the NHS and Health and Social Care can be used on those in critical need.
The role of a Community Connector is about connecting people with professional support not giving advice or guidance, however volunteers will receive full training on local support services and how to access them.
A list of requirements for the role is below, volunteers can choose how to deliver them in a way which fits in with your lifestyle, each Community Connector would need to engage with 20 people every three months (per quarter) or 80 people a year.
Role requirements are;
- A commitment to support one of the listed communities for a minimum of one year
- To attend the half day Introductory session
- To register as a volunteer with Support Staffordshire
- To promote your role with the community you are working
- To complete assistance forms with everyone you help
- To send the completed forms and a feedback form completed by you to us every three months (per quarter four times in total)
- To provide receipts for equipment purchases and travel expenses
- To attend an evaluation session
Volunteering is very rewarding whether you are new to the area and want to meet people, want to give back to the community, or want to enhance your CV and learn new skills. The Community Connectors will have access to ongoing support, advice, and guidance from the Borough Council. You will also be connected to Health and Wellbeing Community Steering Groups in the areas who can assist you promote the role and find out about isolated people who need help most of all.
A minimum of 9 Community Connectors are sought initially, who will have access to a bursary for equipment and expenses. The Stafford and Surrounds’ Health and Wellbeing Group hope that this role will help older people improve their general wellbeing, reduce isolation and loneliness, improve knowledge and understanding and improve confidence and self esteem.